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7 Travel Lessons from my 1st Independent Excursion

3. Stories will Find You Where You Least Expect Them:


Photo Courtesy: Chelsea Tells Stories

It’s strange, isn’t it? People like me go all over the world wanting to bump into interesting people, make elaborate plans and crave for interesting tales & experiences to share. Very often though, the most touching stories will come to you when you least expect it.

One of the stories that moved me the most, came on the very last night of my adventure. I was spending the night at a beat-down, shady looking hostel at Northfields, because it was the cheapest & closest thing available to Heathrow Airport, from whence I had my homeward flight the next day. This is where I met my room-mate – 21 year old Harry Johnston (name changed). After all the exuberant Irish welcomes, I was a little knocked off balance when Harry barely acknowledged my jovial “hello” when he walked in. Significant prodding and a couple of drinks later, I found out Harry was a single child, who’d recently lost both his parents – one died in a car crash and the other walked out. With nobody to pay the mortgage, design student Harry had to give up his house and take up a job at a massive apparel chain – the one we all use toiletries from. When I first saw Harry, he had just returned from a 12 hour shift that began at 5.46 am on a Sunday. He had been staying at this beaten down place for several weeks now, barely making from rent-day to rent-day. He’d already dropped out of college and was truly clueless about how to get his life back on track. He’d wanted to be a fashion designer, and though it definitely isn’t my area of expertise, some of his work that I was able to see in pictures he shared, promised a lot. Sounds like a plot right out of a Bollywood movie doesn’t it? Well it isn’t, because there’s no happy ending to Harry’s story (yet), but I hope there will be. There are countless such obscure faces in and around Central London – people who’s lives have turned upside down in a moment, stories that don’t deserve pity, but deserve to be told and heard.

Some of the most interesting people I met, some of the best conversations I had were in completely unexpected circumstances in some of the remotest places in Ireland – and I do hope to do a whole new post about some of those sometime soon.

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  1. Katie@From Shores to Skylines

    I especially agree with that you get out of travel what you are willing to put into it. If you sit back and expect things to happen to you without any effort, it may never happen!

  2. There are so many lessons to be learned from traveling, especially while solo. I think for me I just really learned how to enjoy my own company and be content!

  3. I really want to travel more. I have not seen much outside of the US. These are some great lessons!

  4. I’m travelling around Asia at the moment with my husband, I love it…but you do need to “roll with the punches” so they say. Don’t give up on travel…it’s very worthwhile.

  5. Any kind of travel is full of challenges. But some of those challenges lead to the best experiences.

  6. You can learn a lot while traveling especially when you are on your own. The lessons you learned will just make the next trip even better.

  7. I always travel in packs, with my family. I could not imagine traveling alone.

  8. I have been traveling since I was small. the best lesson I ever learned was ” If you learn nothing else of the language learn to say thank you.” It goes a long way.

  9. Traveling independently is such an empowering way to visit the world. It isn’t always easy at the time, but makes for amazing memories and deeper perspectives.

  10. I love to travel and the whole experience of traveling. I guess the thrill of not know what will happen or what you are going to experience is what gives me excitement. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Travelling is something that I recommend everyone to do, it teaches you so much about the world around you.

  12. Your travels look and sound so exciting. We don’t travel much or for long, the end of a week to 10 days and I’m ready for home. There are places I would like to see, but not alone.

  13. Looks like a great place to visit.

  14. Mine was in China. The first time I went out of the country, I lived there for four months without my parents. I felt so free!

  15. Thank you so much for these tips! I am going to London in January and will keep all of these in mind. They are so helpful!

  16. When I travelled to Europe after finishing High School, it was an eye opening experience. I HIGHLY recommend travelling on your own (or with close friends) to really discover who you are and gain an appreciation for your life.

  17. I don’t remember ever traveling alone. I mean I flew alone, but someone took me to the airport and someone picked me up so actually I was with someone during the time being away from home, but I always remember that I don’t sleep as well without being in my own bed. It’s always nice to come home. As they say home is where the heart is.

  18. Those are some great tips. I don’t know if I can travel alone.

  19. I’d love to travel around the world, one day I hope to do so!

  20. Sorry that things didn’t go as planned by having to staying in a stinky hotel room on your last night or getting seperated by friends. I don’t travel much so I don’t have any pointers but thanks for your lessons.

  21. Great article! I love that you point out you shouldn’t let someone else’s experience dictate your own personal one.

  22. my first travel was in singapore and because there is so much filipino there i am never lost when ever i go. i haven’t travel or go to other unfamiliar countried myself haha too scared

  23. Thanks for sharing about the lessons you have learned from traveling. I’m sure a lot of us can take what you learned and apply it to each of our next vacations.

  24. Thanks for sharing your lessons you’ve learned. I hope I can travel one day soon & make good use of your knowledge.

  25. When you come through safe,those do make for the most intense travel stories. The good and the bad go hand in hand with travel that is for sure.

  26. It’s so true though, great travel can happen in your own backyard too. 🙂

  27. Loved all my solo trips and treks. It was a great chance to really soak in a place and learn more about myself.

  28. Travel is educational and it can shape our perspective of the world around us. Travel is not always pretty as stuff can happen. However, the best part is that you learn from it and then you can write about it. What’s not to love! 🙂

  29. Traveling is no doubt fun and always a learning experience, but for me it has to be with friends or family. Never alone

  30. Aisha Kristine Chong

    Every moment we do something and engage something, we get to experience things and learn things. 🙂

  31. I really want to get back to traveling. I used to travel all the time, for work and for play.

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    easily using one tricky method. Just type in google:
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